A healthy disregard for time

I’ve been sitting on this email for a while, incubating it a bit. It’s not quite cooked, but I think it will do.

I issue a challenge. I will give any $100 per device if they can get the following devices to a) show the exact same time (down to the nanosecond) and b) run perfectly in sync for a day. The devices are as follows:

  • 2 analog wristwatches, both quartz movement
  • 1 cellphone (AT)
  • 1 analog clock in the dashboard of my card
  • 1 digital clock in my car stereo
  • The clocks on my oven, microwave, and Replaytv

Let’s see… 8 devices, $800. Not a bad deal. But it’s completely impossible.

And why is it impossible?

Because none of those devices actually measure time. They measure a shadow of time, a beating of quartz crystal or the tick of some far off timeserver.

But, Ian, I have a watch; it measures time. Wrong. You have a device that clicks out arbitrary segments, which you call time. There is no time in your wristwatch; you can’t refill it. You simply replace the battery, and a battery contains potential electric energy, and not time.

Think of this. Time is so arbitrary that we can simply “Spring forward, Fall back.” I can make it be whatever time I want just by monkeying with my watch.

At most, time is an agreed upon convention of life.

Time has become completely useless to me. Well, completely might be a bit strong. Time is convenient for paying bills, catching movies, and missing airplanes.

I am tired of people (myself very much included) worrying about time and their lives. “I didn’t do this by age X.” “I wish I had done Y when I was younger.”

A new decree: there is no point in one’s life when it is too “late” to start something new. Caveat: It is probably to late to start nude modeling for porno mags after the age of 60… in some cases, even earlier.

One must live their life immediately. There is no arbitrary divisions of life; it is all now.

I’m back in town for, I believe, a month (we all agree on what a month is? Right? 30, no 31, no 28, days!)

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